MOH News
Workshop on epidemic surveillance convened
22 May 2007
MOH Undersecretary of Preventive Medicine Dr. Khalid Al-Zahrani warned from avian flue, which might affect 64 million people in case it transfers to humans. Talking after the opening of the Gulf
 
Workshop on Epidemic surveillance, organized in coordination with the Executive Office of the GCC Council of Ministers of Health and WHO Regional Office for East Mediterranean, at Riyadh Palace Hotel, on 4 and 5/5/1428, he said we have to be more cautious because we are not living in isolation from the outside world. 280 people have been affected by avian flue since its onset 10 years ago, mortality rate reaching about 50%, a matter indicating difficulty of transference to humans. 
 
He said MOH is planning to establish 69 TB treatment units at health centers by the end of this year, denoting the difficulty of eradicating TB within one or two years in presence of foreign labour.
 
"MOH is intending to enlighten the passengers during this summer through the different ports in coordination with Saudi Airlines and Civil Aviation", he said.
 
He said the workshop reflects the interest of MOH in promoting preventive programs in the Kingdom and boosting relationships with GCC countries and WHO. "A number of WHO experts will lecture on international developments in contagious diseases and their effects on GCC countries", he said. "Attendants also include representatives from GCC countries as well as MOH officials from the different parts of the Kingdom". 
 
He confirmed the importance of the workshop in boosting cooperation and coordination with GCC and WHO for developing programs and capabilities of combating new epidemics of contagious diseases such as SARS, Jacob Syndrome, and avian flue.
 
He called upon all to combine their efforts for developing effective surveillance programs against contagious diseases.
 
The General Manager of the Executive Office of the GCC Council of Ministers of Health Dr. Tawfeeq Khoja said the Executive Office pays great attention to such issues. There is a Gulf committee for prevention officials which holds regular meetings. In its last meeting the committee discussed a number of issues including avian flue, measles, wider immunization, dong fever, and lung TB.
 
He said the office is concentrating now on building the capabilities in GCC countries, developing national staff in epidemiological surveillance, and early preparations for combating epidemics.
 
WHO representative Dr. Awad Abu Zaid said the Kingdom is highly subject to diseases due to foreigners who come during Hajj and Omra seasons.  



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